Isaiah 11:1-10

Isaiah 11:1-10
Second Sunday of Advent A


A shootA shall come outB from the stumpC of Jesse,D
    and a branchE shall growF out of his roots.G

Notes on verse 1

A “shoot” = choter. 2x in OT. This is a branch, rod, or shoot.
B “come out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
C “stump” = geza. 3x in OT. It may come from a word that refers to felling trees. This is a stem or stump.
D “Jesse” = Yishay. Perhaps from ish (man); {perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail)} OR from the same as yesh (being, existence, substance). This is Jesse, a name which means “my husband” or “the Lord exists.” See
E “branch” = netser. 4x in OT – 3x in Isaiah & 1x in Daniel. From natsar (to watch, guard, protect). It evokes the idea of green as a color that stands out. So, it is a shoot or branch. Figuratively, it can refer to one’s descendants.
F “grow” = parah. This is to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase. It is bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense.
G “roots” = shoresh. Perhaps from sharash (to root into soil or uproot). This is a root, depth, line, heel, bottom. It is  root in a literal or figurative sense.

The spiritH of the LordI shall restJ on him,
    the spirit of wisdomK and understanding,L

Notes on verse 2a

H “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
I “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
J “rest” = nuach. This is to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait. It is rest and so implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense. This is perhaps the root verb of the name “Noah.”
K “wisdom” = chokmah. From chakam (to be wise or teach wisdom; this is wisdom in thought, word, or action). This is wisdom, wit, or skillfulness.
L “understanding” = binah. From bin (to discern, consider, attend to; distinguishing things in one’s mind or, more generally, to understand). This is understanding, wisdom, or discernment.

    the spirit of counselM and might,N
    the spirit of knowledgeO and the fearP of the Lord.
His delightQ shall be in the fear of the Lord.

Notes on verses 2b-3a

M “counsel” = etsah. From yaats (to counsel, advise, determine). This is advice, purpose, plan, prudence, or counselor.
N “might” = geburah. From gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or be insolent). This is force in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be strength, power, courage, triumph, victory, or mastery.
O “knowledge” = daat. From yada (to know, be aware, see and so understand – includes observation, care, recognition; can also be used as a euphemism). This is knowledge, unawares, cunning, wittingly.
P “fear” = yirah. From yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fear or reverence.
Q “delight” = ruach. 11x in OT. Related to riach (scent, odor, perceive). This is to blow or breathe. It can imply to perceive, anticipate, or enjoy.

He shall not judgeR by what his eyesS seeT
    or decideU by what his earsV hear,W

Notes on verse 3b

R “judge” = shaphat. This is to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, or govern. It can refer to God judging or to human judges. This is pronouncing a verdict in favor or against so it implies consequences or punishment. It can also mean to litigate or govern as one with authority.
S “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
T “see” = mareh. From raah (to see, show, stare, think, view; to see in a literal or figurative sense). This is sight, appearance, or vision. It can be a view, seeing itself, that which is seen, something real, or a vision one sees.
U “decide” = yakach. This is to decide, be right, argue, or convince. It can also be to decide, convict, reason together, or reprove.
V “ears” = ozen. This is ear, hearing, audience, show. Properly, it is broadness – applied to its ear in reference to its shape.
W “hear” = mishma. 1x in OT. From shama (hear, call, consent, or consider; implies listening intelligently, giving attention; obedience and action are often implied). This is something that one has heard.

but with righteousnessX he shall judge for the poorY
    and decide with equityZ for the oppressedAA of the earth;BB

Notes on verse 4a

X “righteousness” = tsedeq. This is rightness, righteousness, vindication. It is everything that is just or ethical. That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity.
Y “poor” = dal. From dalal (to be low, hang, fade, be emptied, become poor, be oppressed). This is lean, weak, needy, poor. Properly, it is one who is dangling.
Z “equity” = mishor. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, smooth, or agreeable; figuratively, to make something pleasant or prosperous) This is a level place like a plain. It can also be the proper name of a level place. Figuratively, it can refer to straightness in the sense of justice, equity, fairness, righteousness, or uprightness. It can also refer to a concord.
AA “oppressed” = anav. From anah (to be bowed down; can refer to a sense of humility or to a sense of being browbeaten, oppressed, afflicted, or depressed; literal or figurative – depressed in mood or circumstance). This is poor, needy, afflicted as well as humble or meek.
BB “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

he shall strikeCC the earth with the rodDD of his mouth,EE
    and with the breathFF of his lipsGG he shall killHH the wicked.II

Notes on verse 4b

CC “strike” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
DD “rod” = shebet. This is a rod, staff, club, scepter, dart, or tribe. Literally a stick that can be used for punishing, writing, fighting, walking, ruling; thus, used figuratively for a clan.
EE “mouth” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
FF “breath” = ruach. Same as “spirit” in v2. See note H above.
GG “lips” = saphah. This is lip, edge, border, bank – used for a boundary. It can also be speech or language.
HH “kill” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
II “wicked” = rasha. This is morally wrong so it refers to someone who is actively bad as wicked, criminal, an evil person, offender, condemned, or ungodly.

Righteousness shall beJJ the beltKK around his waistLL
    and faithfulnessMM the belt around his loins.NN

Notes on verse 5

JJ “be” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v2. See note I above.
KK “belt” = ezor. 14x in OT. From azar (to encircle, bind, encompass, to belt or gird). This is a loincloth or belt.
LL “waist” = mothen. This is the waist, slender, or small of back. It can also refer to the loins when in plural.
MM “faithfulness” = emunah. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. This word shares a root with the word “Amen.”
NN “loins” = chalats. 10x in OT. From chalats (to arm, give strength). This is loins or waist. Figuratively, this refers to fertility or vigor.

The wolfOO shall livePP with the lamb;QQ
    the leopardRR shall lie downSS with the kid;TT

Notes on verse 6a

OO “wolf” = zeeb. 7x in OT. Perhaps from a word that refers to yellow. This is wolf.
PP “live” = gur. Properly, this is the act of turning off the road for any reason. So, it means sojourning, becoming a guest. It can mean being fearful since one is outside of home territory. It can also mean dwelling, living, or inhabiting if one has turned off the root to encamp for a longer duration. This word is where the Hebrew “ger” comes from, which is the word translated “stranger” or “resident alien.”
QQ “lamb” = kebes. Root may mean to dominate. This is a young male sheep – having just reached the age where it can butt other sheep.
RR “leopard” = namer. 6x in OT. Root may mean to filtrate. This would refer to spots dripped and, thereby, to a leopard.
SS “lie down” = rabats. This is crouched like an animal, lie down, lie stretch out, rest, sit, brood, lurk.
TT “kid” = gedi. 16x in OT. From the same as gadah (a bank or border of a river or stream). This is a young goat.

the calfUU and the lionVV will feedWW together,XX

Notes on verse 6b

UU “calf” = egel. May be from the same as agol (round, circular – root meaning revolve). This is a male calf as one that frisks about. Often used for one that is almost grown up. This is also the word used for the molten calf in Ex 32.
VV “lion” = kephir. Perhaps from kaphar (to appease, cover, pacify, cancel). This is a young lion – maybe in the sense that it has a mane covering.
WW “feed” = meri. 8x in OT. Perhaps from mara (to rebel, flap wings, whip, be filthy). This is a stall-fed cow, a fatling.
XX “together” = yachad. From yachad (to join, be united). This is a unit, both, altogether, unitedness, alike.

    and a littleYY childZZ shall leadAAA them.

Notes on verse 6c

YY “little” = qatan. From quwt (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is least, small, young, little one. It is literally smaller whether in amount or size. Figuratively it is smaller in the sense of younger or less important.
ZZ “child” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.
AAA “lead” = nahag. This is to drive as in driving flocks, but also driving in animal or vehicle like a chariot. It can mean to carry away, lead, drive away, proceed, or guide. It can also relate to behavior and what one is accustomed to.

The cowBBB and the bearCCC shall graze;DDD
    their youngEEE shall lie down together;

Notes on verse 7a

BBB “cow” = parah. From the same as par (a young bull or ox); from parar (to break, defeat, frustrate, caste off, clean, cease). This is a heifer or cow.
CCC “bear” = dob. 12x in OT. From dabab (to glide, flow gently, speak, move slowly). This is a bear, perhaps as a slow moving creature.
DDD “graze” = ra’ah. This is to tend a flock, pasture, or graze. It can mean to rule or to associate with someone. Figuratively, it can be ruler or teacher.
EEE “young” = yeled. From yalad (to bear, bring forth; can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage). This is something born – so, offspring, youth, fruit. It is the same word used in Isaiah 9:6 “for a child will be born to us.”

    and the lionFFF shall eatGGG strawHHH like the ox.III

Notes on verse 7b

FFF “lion” = ari. From arah (to gather or pluck). This is a young lion.
GGG “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
HHH “straw” = teben. 17x in OT. Perhaps from banah (to build or obtain children). This is material like straw or stubble – refuse used as fodder.
III “ox” = baqar. From baqar (to plow, break forth; figuratively, to inquire, inspect, consider). This is cattle – an animal used for plowing.

The nursing childJJJ shall playKKK over the holeLLL of the asp,MMM

Notes on verse 8a

JJJ “nursing child” = yanaq. This is to suckle or to nurse. In a causative sense, it can mean to give milk. So, this word can be used for a nursing mother or for her suckling child.
KKK “play” = sha’a. 9x in OT– all in the Psalms and Isaiah. This is to play, delight, stare, cry out, cheer. It can also be to shut eyes, to be blind.
LLL “hole” = chor. 8x in OT. From the same as chur (hole; a hole that was bored; a crevice where a snake lives; the cell of a prison). This is a hole, den, cavity.
MMM “asp” = pethen. 6x in OT. This is some kind of venomous snake. Its root may mean to twist. Perhaps it is a cobra, asp, or adder.

    and the weaned childNNN shall putOOO its handPPP on the adder’sQQQ den.RRR

Notes on verse 8b

NNN “weaned child” = gamal. This is how one deals with someone whether positively or negatively – so to reward, requite. It can also mean to wean or the work that goes into something ripening.
OOO “put” = hadah. 1x in OT. This is to stretch out.
PPP “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
QQQ “adder’s” = tsepha. 5x in OT. May come from a word meaning to extrude. This is a snake as one that sticks out its tongue and hisses. So, perhaps a viper or adder.
RRR “den” = murah. 1x in OT. From or (to be or become light, shine). This is something that is light – a hole that light passes through. So, it can imply a crevice or den where a snake lives.

They will not hurtSSS or destroyTTT
    on allUUU my holyVVV mountain,WWW

Notes on verse 9a

SSS “hurt” = ra’a. Literally, this is to destroy something by breaking it into pieces. Figuratively, it is to cause something to be worthless or bad physically, socially, or morally. This word can be to be evil, bad, afflict, displease, harm, break down, do mischief. This is the root where the Hebrew word for “evil” comes from. The concept includes anything that is not how it ought to be: a natural disaster, a disfigurement, illness, pain, sin, wickedness, etc. It is less that a hurricane or deformity is evil and more that it goes against how God generally orders the universe. Here, harm and destruction is categorically said to be antithetical to God’s will for humanity.
TTT “destroy” = shachath. This is to go to ruin, perish, decay, batter, cast off, lose, one who destroys. This can be used in a literal or figurative sense.
UUU “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
VVV “holy” = qodesh. This is set apart and so sacred. God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart. Things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.
WWW “mountain” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.

for the earth will be fullXXX of the knowledgeYYY of the LordZZZ
    as the watersAAAA coverBBBB the sea.CCCC

Notes on verse 9b

XXX “be full” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
YYY “knowledge” = deah. Related to “knowledge” in v2. 6x in OT. From dea (knowledge, opinion); from yada (see note O above). This is knowledge.
ZZZ “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v2 & “be” in v5. It has the same meaning as “Lord” in v2 with a different vowel pointing. See note I above.
AAAA “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
BBBB “cover” = kasah. This is to cover, conceal, overwhelm. It is to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret.
CCCC “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.

10 DDDDOn that dayEEEE the root of Jesse shall standFFFF as a signalGGGG to the peoples;HHHH

Notes on verse 10a

DDDD {untranslated} = hayah. Same as “be” in v5. See note JJ above.
EEEE “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
FFFF “stand” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
GGGG “signal” = nes. From nasas (to be high, easy to see, sparkling, to gleam, to raise a flag or signal). This is a flag, pole, sail, warning, signal, token.
HHHH “peoples” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.

the nationsIIII shall inquireJJJJ of him, and his dwellingKKKK shall be glorious.LLLL

Notes on verse 10b

IIII “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
JJJJ “inquire” = darash. This is seek, ask, inquire, care for. Generally it means following in pursuit or following as part of a search, which implies seeking or asking. Also used specially to mean worship.
KKKK “dwelling” = menuchah. Related to “rest” in v2. From manoach (resting place, quiet, home); from nuach (see note J above). This is resting place, consolation, ease, quiet. It is the same word in Psalm 23:2, “he leads me beside the still waters.”
LLLL “glorious” = kabod. From kabad (to be heavy, weighty, burdensome). This is weighty. Figuratively, glorious, abundant, riches, honor, splendor – a reference to one’s reputation or character. This word is often used to describe God and God’s presence.

Image credit: “Peaceable Kingdom” by John August Swanson, 1994.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply